Thus Rama-Laxmana-Sita reached the banks of the river Tamasa. The small, simple village was predominantly populated by the outcasts Bhilla, an aboriginal caste. The chief of this clan was Guhaka, a very wise man although illiterate. These simple, hard-working, honest and poor people were neglected as no officer would visit them in distress or want. The revenue minister and officials would be content to collect their dues and report to Ayodhya ‘everything is fine there’.
Thus, although a part of Ayodhya kingdom, these people were denied any chance of contact with the royal house or the king. However, despite their poverty and inconvenience, their chief Guhaka was aware of the noble character and pious nature of Rama. he had also the news as to the recent ill-fated happenings in Ayodhya. Therefore, he was waiting for the arrival of Rama-Laxmana-Sita with great expectations and eagerness. He was keen to serve the nobility, and in particular Rama.
On their arrival, Guhaka arranged for their meals consisting of fruits and milk only as he was not sure whether other items would be accepted by the members the royal family. He saluted Rama from a distance, but Rama went a step ahead and embraced the chief as his old friend! This unexpected gesture of solidarity beyond caste consideration on the part of Rama made Guhaka very happy. He could not control his tear s that fell on the chest of Rama. Laxmana and Sita were silent witness to this high drama of love between the two.
The night fell and arrangements were made for Rama and Sita to retire. The bed of straw was hastily prepared as Rama refused to enter the village and accept the hospitality of the chief, saying, ‘O dear friend, I have taken the vow of leading a simple life in a forest. I cannot come inside your palace.’
It is important to note that Rama and Sita did not have any physical contact during these fourteen years of forest life.
Laxmana did not sleep for he had come to protect and serve Rama and Sita. He and Guhaka had night long talk on the decency of Rama’s character and divine qualities. According to Laxmana, Rama as the God-incarnate and Guhaka as the devotee made a wonderful duo of peace, love, and tranquillity. Guhaka was also impressed with the insights that Laxmana offered about the real nature of Rama as Brahma-incarnate. It is the Absolute GOD that has deliberately planned all this sport of forest-treading, banishment, etc. so that more democratic, peaceful, righteous, society without caste and creed, racial or ethnic hatred should emerge.
Moreover, the king Ravana, the mighty Demon King of Lanka was too powerful wicked, and unrighteous who required to be vanquished. Only Rama was capable of defeating Ravana, and hence all this play of forest life.